Girls: Goodbye Tour

Jet lag has got me so hard, guys.  I had the best of intentions of getting this up Monday… but I’m still adjusting!  Japan content coming soon, until then, let’s talk about Girls before the last episode ever this weekend.

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Hannah’s life seems to be falling into place as she gets a great job offer upstate to be a college course instructor.  It has benefits, and with her baby on the way, Hannah knows this is a great move for her.  Plus, she seems pretty keen to get out of New York city… but she wavers on this and embarks on a goodbye tour, asking people for advice.  Elijah’s opposed, her dad is on board, but where are her friends?

Marnie isn’t picking up, so Hannah tries Shosh who apparently has a different number than last they spoke.  Hannah instead goes to Shosh’s apartment to find that she is hosting her own engagement party.

I’ve been pretty upset about the lack of Shoshanna all season, but if we’re taking the season mostly from Hannah’s perspective, this makes sense.  It’s clear that time has gone by a bit faster in these last couple of episodes, and maybe all through the season, unseen to us, Shoshanna has been meeting and falling in love with Byron Long.  Now they’re engaged, to the total shock of Hannah who wasn’t invited to the party.  Marnie’s there, and of course Jessa, so Marnie calls the four girls into a group meeting in the bathroom.

Hannah, Jessa, Marnie, and Shoshanna are together for the first time all season, speaking their minds to each other.  Shoshanna has moved on from this and points out that they can’t be together without one of them making it all about her.  Shosh has her own life now; they all should.

Jessa & Hannah have a nice moment where they both apologize to each other.  Jessa gives Hannah a baby dress, and Hannah tells her the baby is actually a boy.

The four of them manage to have a great time at Shosh’s engagement party sort of doing their own thing.  Hannah moves upstate and is happy with her decision.

What do you think this last episode has in store for us?!

Girls: Bounce & Adam

Well hello!  This is little bit of a catch-up post, since I watched both “The Bounce” and “What Will We Do This Time About Adam?” last night after my 12 hour flight home from Tokyo.  I really liked both episodes!  I wanted to do a double recap for you before tonight’ episode… which I will hopefully stay awake for.

The Bounce is an Elijah episode, and it’s really fun.  It has Elijah auditioning for a musical adaptation of White Men Can’t Jump and watching the choreography is pure joy.   He does kill the vocal audition, despite being shaken up by the sudden appearance of ex-boyfriend Dill at his door.  He even comes home and tells him off, for a bit of closure and then a second chance with him.  He wakes up to a call back, having been asked to read for a role.  It’s so nice!

Less nice is Hannah’s role in this episode, as she’s finally decided to call Paul-Louis and tell him about the baby.  Despite not wanting him involved, his lack of interest in being a father to the baby is pretty devastating to Hannah.

Marnie is out of money and getting evicted.  She goes to pawn her locket and diamond earrings, only to learn that her parents lied to her about the value of these items– gold-plated pewter and glass, not gold and diamond.  She blames Desi for not paying rent, her parents for their lies, and the guy at the pawn shop points out that she’s the liar.  It gets to her, and she leaves Desi a voicemail apologizing, letting him know he owes her nothing, and telling him she’s moving in with her mom.

What Will We Do This Time About Adam? is probably my favorite episode title Girls has given us.  It’s a bit weird, but Adam has decided that he needs to raise this baby with Hannah.  He leaves Jessa, goes to Hannah, and they spend this idyllic day rekindling and planning for the baby.  It’s sweet, but yeah, weird.  Meanwhile, Jessa is determined to be the cool girl and not have emotions about Adam.  She looks for a hook up, but breaks down knowing that’s not what she wants.  As the day goes on, Hannah and Adam slowly realize that this chapter has closed– they are not going to be together.  Adam goes back to Jessa, who plays it cool but conceals a satisfied smile as he makes his way to her.

I’m so disappointed that Shosh has no storyline whatsoever this season.  She’s in this episode only to connect Ray and Abigail romantically.

It looks like we’ll finally have all four girls in one place before the season’s over, and I can hardly wait!  Thoughts?!

What I Read: March 2017

Well friends, this is an incomplete What I Read written in the penultimate week of March.  I’ve got 14 books to tell you about at this point, and you can bet the 13 hour plane ride I took last week added at least another to the list.  Since 14 is a lot to get through, I’ll (try to) be brief!

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In attempts to stay brief, I’ll only give full reviews for a few, and share general thoughts/ratings for others!

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The writing style definitely takes a bit to get used to.  Browsing some Goodreads reviews, you’ll see some hilarious yet accurate examples of how people struggled with this.  For me, the beginning took quite a while.  There were several scenes of pure description repeated and juxtaposed with different connotative language which I liked the first time, but was annoyed at by the third.  By the time we learn the main character’s name (and yes, this takes a while) the story starts to get going.  We follow Mia on her quest to become an assassin.  Mia is a darken who controls shadow.  She has a cat made of shadow as a companion.  The world is fairly reminiscent of Assassin’s Heart, but the story quite different.  I find Mia quite likable and gave this one 4 stars.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

I had heard a lot about this and knew it wouldn’t be a real serious read for me.  I went into it expecting a fluffy book, so to be disappointed even with those expectations is saying something.  It’s about a high school student named Harper who suddenly has supernatural powers thrust upon her.  This is NOT Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I think it’s the southern belle things that really bothered me… perhaps it’s just not something someone who grew up in suburban Boston can understand.  Beyond that, everything was too easy without any real world implications.  Everything felt frivolous.  The death of her sister was casually thrown in there for what reason?  1 star.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Again, I kept hearing so much about this book!  It’s a compelling adventure with a healthy dose of mystery and a dark, dangerous feeling.  It’s about a girl named Scarlett and her sister, Tella.  Their life hasn’t been the best with their abusive father.  They’ve always dreamed of going to Caraval– an immersive festival/show/game.  Now, there are some things that don’t work for me, mainly the lack of character development, but it’s a fun and quick read.  4 stars.

(more…)

(Pre-Japan) Marchstagrams

March has been great for so many reasons!

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[1] so happy to have the Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild!  [2] PaxEast 2017 [3] ugh, I really miss this sandwich from Catalyst Cafe [4] Animal Crossing Amiibo friends [5] love this gorgeous Smashbox Golden Hour palette [6] Matt reminds me of Umino here [7] we did a bad job at not eating Japanese before Japan [8] but how can you resist this green tea mille crêpe? [9] at least I maintained balance with a ride at The Handle Bar in Harvard Sq.

and [10] …we’re in JAPAN NOW.  Be sure to check in on the instagrams that didn’t make it here!

What was your favorite part of March?

Wedding Wednesday: Say Yes

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Who among us does not watch Say Yes to the Dress?  (Men reading: sorry, I know you don’t.)  There’s a lot of hoopla around the whole experience of trying on wedding dresses and finding the one.  We’ve seen the episodes where the girl just doesn’t feel it; she doesn’t cry tears of joy, she doesn’t find her dress.  This, I think, is the fear.  With this garment so built up, can we achieve that perfect bridal moment?

I did, and I’m here to share my experience & some advice on saying yes to the dress!  While I know my experience is just one person’s, I asked my friends to weigh in too to give a little more of a balanced view.

It only took me one shopping trip to find my dress.  Is this weird?  My two married friends also only took one shopping trip each.  My friend Stacie picked a shop specifically because it was on the smaller side and she didn’t want to be overwhelmed with her options… and trust me, you can be!

I tried on about 20 dresses.  Thinking back now, they’re all a blur of lace and pouf in my mind.  I can only remember the first one I put on– my favorite from the photos I brought with me and the first wedding dress I ever wore– and the one I bought!  My cousin Amanda thinks she tried on nearly 50 dresses over her three shopping trips and ended up with something very different than what she thought she wanted.

So how do you know when it’s the one?  For myself and Amanda, we had to put on another dress after the one to confirm it.  I slipped into the first dress I put on again, the one that nothing else was comparing to, and found that I didn’t really like it after all.  Once the previous dress was back on, my mom started saying “that’s it!” and the tears came… from both of us!

For my friend Megan, the reaction of the crowd was very important to her decision; we see this in Say Yes all the time too. She said the fact that everyone else loved it made her love it too.  Stacie said she couldn’t stop smiling in her pick and then just stopped looking.  After 5 dresses, she was done.  Though she’s sure there are a lot of dresses out there that would’ve worked for her, she didn’t want to look any more once she found one that worked.

So, how can you say yes to the dress?

Do your homework.  I know you have a secret wedding board on your Pinterest.  Now is the time to look at pictures and see what you like and what you don’t like!  You should have some ideas and photos for when you shop!

Take it from dream to reality.  If you have no idea where to start, look for bridal shops in the area.  Ask friends where they got their dresses or do a google search.  Once you’ve picked a shop, you can see which designers they carry and take your time browsing those designers’ sites.

Determine your budget.  I think for most people this is the first step.  Again, with a designer in mind, I was able to confirm the price point I was looking for made sense.  A designer’s website will have ranges for each of their collections.

Stay open-minded.  It is a delicate balancing act to stay firm to what you want and open to the possibilities.  You should try what your mom/MOH/friend picks at least once.  Things look very different on you than on the hanger or the model in photos!  (I happen to think I look way better in my dress than the model in the photo…)  Don’t marry yourself to a style (Amanda ended up in something completely different) or a designer (I went for a Maggie Sottero trunk show and didn’t buy a Maggie Sottero) either.

Don’t let anyone else control the appointment.  The consultant is trying to make a sale.  She will try to push you to make a decision.  It’s okay to walk away… I almost did until the very last dress ignited a spark!  As for your entourage, if you watch Say Yes I don’t have to warn you about this– it is ultimately your decision.

Breath of the Wild

secret-ending-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-screenshot-810x400.jpgThere’s one thing we made sure to do before leaving for our Japan vacation: beat the main quest of The Legend of Zelda Breathe of the Wild.  We actually beat Calamity Ganon about a week ago now, so I’ve had some time to think about the game before we left.  I wanted to share a little (spoiler free) review of sorts with you!

There is so much to love about this game.  In a lot of ways, I think this it’s perfect gameplay-wise.  Like, if I designed a game, I would want it to play like this.  The open-world concept fits into the modern notion of a game, while still feeling very authentically like a Zelda game.  The open-world goes a step further for me because truly, you can go anywhere– if you see it, you can get there.  Link’s quite the climber in this game!  Couple that with the paraglider and you can literally get anywhere.

All of the objects in this open world interact with each other which means there’s a lot of collecting to do!  From mining gems, to hunting, to foraging, to grabbing an unlikely weapon… it’s so much fun.  Hearts are not dropped by any enemy so if you want to restore, you have to use my favorite feature in the game: cooking!  I can’t even tell you how much fun I had combining things to come up with recipes.  You’ve got to love the music it plays when you’re on to something amazing.  Sure, I made a few dubious foods before I figured out how to make elixirs, but I’m a cooking master now!

Another new feature is that no weapon is permanent.  You melee weapons, shields, and bows all break after extended use.  Even the Master Sword needs to go on cool down.  While I’m not a fan of no permanent weapons, it did let us try out a bunch of different ones, which was immensely fun.

When talking about our weapons stash, we need to mention Hesto, the giant Korok with maracas that gives you another slot to hold a sword/shield/bow.  I loved all the Koroks in this game!  Their cute little puzzles were instantly recognizable and I was still excited to hear yahaha! every time.

Speaking of puzzles, let’s move on to Shrines & Divine Beasts.  The game is a little lighter on storyline because it’s non-linear.  You can play whatever you want in whatever order you want, but the main goals are to recapture the Divine Beasts from Ganon’s clutches freeing the spirits of your friends inside.  Along the way, you are to activate shrines, which also helps you move around quicker, since you can teleport, and towers, which activate the map for the section.  The shrines either have puzzles, tests of strength (battles), or blessings.  Your Sheikah Slate includes runes to help you with these puzzles and, basically, to give you alternate ways to do anything in the game– so useful!  The Divine Beasts themselves are giant 3D puzzles– I was just in awe of how someone could create them.

Anyway, the story unfurls through each Divine Beast victory and through recapturing the stored memories on your Sheikah Slate.  We get to know a fun cast of characters, including Princess Zelda.  I’m going to say it– I couldn’t stand her voice actor at first, but I got used to it at the end.  Her storyline is the most compelling to me.

Even with Calamity Ganon’s battle done, I know we’ll be playing more Breath of the Wild.  I can’t wait for DLC, and I can’t say enough amazing things about this game!